Have I Got News For You …and Jimmy Savile

12 Oct

They say it never rains it pours, but in the case of Jimmy Savile it has turned into a category 5 hurricane of revelations. I never really liked him, as I found the whole shell suit, gaudy gold chains, big cigar and “now then now then” persona creepy and weird, but the breath and nature of the revelations has still shocked me.

I caught tonight’s episode of Have I got News For You, the start of a new season, and I was curious to see how they will deal with the topic being as it is till very fresh and escalating in seriousness and distaste as each day goes by



Tonight’s show was hosted by Clare Balding riding a wave of popularity after her much lauded presentation duties at both the Olympics for the BBC and the Paralympics for Channel 4.  Regulars  Ian Hislop and Paul Merton were joined by Ken Livingston and Graham Glinner, the writer behind the ‘Father Ted’ series.

The first news item they dealt with was the Tory Party conference and the jokes were on Dave’s twit-tering, Boris’s popularity and George Osborne (He doesn’t get the single name treatment) getting roundly booed at the Paralympics.

It moved on from there to the Savile story. Paul Merton started off by categorically denying the existence of a much rumored outtake transcript of an episode of  Have I got News For You from a few years back when Jimmy Savile appeared. It was said to detail Paul Merton confronting Savile as a pedophile.

That’s not to say there weren’t uncomfortable moments from his appearance on that episode, a clip was aired where he was asked by Ian Hislop “What do you do in your caravan?” Savile’s answer “Anyone I can lay hands”. More disturbingly and although not broadcast tonight on the same show he was asked by the then host Angus Deayton “You used to be a wrestler”, Savile’s reply “I still am….I am feared in every girls school”.  No. You can’t make it up.

As Glinner pointed out the vile innuendo in hindsight was some sort of attempt at “using the truth to mask the truth”.  Making a open joke of the whole sordid affair and people will think there is no way can it be true cos he wont be joking about it so openly.

The rest of the programme veered from mildly funny to very unfunny (claire Balding’s joke at Abu Hamza being surprised to fly into an airport in America, he was expecting to fly into a building) going via a long vent from Balding on what she called Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame. A reference to  the paper’s website obsession with young female celebrities yet ready to take the high ground on Savile.

I am not sure if the The Savile affair had cast a pall over the rest of the programme or if its age and that of Ian and Paul have begun to tell, Have I Got New For You seems to have lost its edge. Well it has been 22 years.

The episode with Jimmy Savile.

One Response to “Have I Got News For You …and Jimmy Savile”

  1. Ken October 17, 2012 at 4:43 am #

    It was interesting that Balding was too disgusted to cover the Lance Armstong story – deliberately ‘fixing’ the wheel of news in order to avoid it – but was quite happy to make comedy gold out of Saville.

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